The 2021 offseason has officially arrived even though the new league year doesn’t formally begin until March 17. Due to the loss of revenue that the pandemic caused, the available cap space for teams leaguewide has been significantly reduced.
The unrestricted free agent market will be saturated with an abundance of mid-tier veteran players. In the second article of this five-part series I’ll be breaking down three bargain free agent candidates at one of the Baltimore Ravens’ top positions of need:
The Ravens have started nothing but former undrafted free agents at the position since Ryan Jensen, a former sixth-round pick in 2013, departed for greener pastures in free agency following the 2017 season.
While Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari, and Trystan Colon-Castillo have performed admirably and provided great depth and versatility, the time for an upgrade has come after the position became a liability in several key moments during the season.
Instead of relying on a rookie draft pick or hoping that any of the in-house options don’t disappoint, three veterans that will likely be looking for new teams in 2021 and could fill one of the Ravens’ top needs: Alex Mack, Austin Reiter, and Mike Pouncey.
Mack spent the first seven years of his career in the AFC North as a former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns and has been with the Atlanta Falcons since 2016. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and made four-straight from 2015-2018 before missing the last two.
While he may not be viewed among the elite at the position anymore, the 35-year old is still a solid blocker, durable, and most importantly a reliable snapper of the football. He hasn’t missed a game due to injury in six years.
Pouncey is a four-time Pro Bowler and has spent his entire 10-year career in the AFC. He spent his first seven years in the league with the Miami Dolphins before spending the last three in Los Angeles with the Chargers. He missed the entire 2020 season with a hip injury he suffered in September.
While he hasn’t been durable as Mack, he is still a natural at the position, is a reliable snapper, and when healthy, is a physical run and pass blocker. Pouncey plays with a nasty streak that the Ravens have missed since Jensen signed his big deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Ravens might be able to sign him at a discount given his checkered injury history.
Reiter is the least heralded of the three but unlike Mack and Pouncey, he is still relatively young at 29-years-old. He has spent the majority of the last two seasons as the starting center for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Superbowl runner-ups are going to be among the teams in a cap crunch come March and might have to say goodbye to the solid fifth-year pro. Like Mack, he not only is a natural at the position but he also began his career with the Browns.
Reiter won the Super Bowl with the Chiefs in 2019 and could be the least expensive of the three. But since neither of the aforementioned veterans has won a championship in their respective careers, they might be willing to sign for less if they believe the Ravens give them their best chance to get a ring. Mack made it to the title game in his first year with the Falcons but lost in overtime to the Patriots.